Launched in 1991, the Ian Parry Scholarship is an annual photographic competition for young photographers under the age of 24 or attending a full-time photographic course. Announced in July, this year’s winner Yuyang Liu, hailing from China, submitted a portfolio of images documenting the lives of people suffering with mental illness from Guangdong Province. Hosam Katan (Syria) was highly commended for his work, and Hashem Shakeri (Iran), Isadora Kosofsky (USA) and Salahuddin Ahmed (Bangladesh).
An exhibition of this year’s winning and commended work, curated by Rebecca McClelland, is being exhibited this month at London’s Hoxton Gallery. The award was launched in 1991 in honour of Ian Parry, a 24-year-old photojournalist who was tragically killed whilst on assignment for The Sunday Times in December 1989 in Romania. The Scholarship comes with a £3500 grant for the production of a documentary body of work. The winner also receives a choice of equipment from Canon, has their work published in The Sunday Times Magazine, is automatically added to the final list of nominees for the Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam, and will join the Reportage by Getty Images agency as an Emerging Talent.
Liu’s portfolio was a unanimous choice for the jury and as Aidan Sullivan, founder and director of the Ian Parry Scholarship tells the BJP, the powerful photographs addressed a topic that urgently needs to be discussed: “Yuyang’s images were haunting – portraying almost ghost-like figures emerging from the shadows. The judges were moved by his well crafted, thoughtful and respectful images and his project which documents the lives of the mentally ill and their families that are often overlooked, if not completely ignored in China.
Don McCullin is one of the award’s patrons and remarked that this year’s entries had human interest at their heart, a central aspect of the scholarship’s mission, in addition to boosting the role of photojournalism. “The award is very much focused on a traditional photojournalistic approach – we want to see compelling visual storytelling, well-researched projects that highlight issues that might not otherwise get attention,” Sullivan says.
“We are looking to help the next generation of young emerging photojournalists by giving them recognition, support and encouragement. We are delighted that we have been able to help so many talented photographers at the very beginning of their careers, including Jonas Bendiksen, Kitra Cahana , Irena Werning, Marcus Bleasdale, Ed Ou, Sebastien Liste, Matt Eich,Leonie Purchase and Simon Roberts.”
The Ian Parry Scholarship Exhibition takes place 11-16 December 2015 at Hoxton Gallery, London. See all the winning images here.